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ERIC Number: EJ774775
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Mar
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-0033-1538
District Education Offices in French-Speaking West Africa: Autonomy, Professionalism and Accountability
De Grauwe, Anton; Lugaz, Candy
Prospects: Quarterly Review of Comparative Education, v37 n1 p113-125 Mar 2007
Decentralization occupies a prominent place on the policy agenda at international level and, within many countries, at national level. It regularly forms part of an overall package of reform of the public service, which has been summarized under the concept of "new public management" (Pollitt & Bouckaert, 2000). This package also includes advocacy of stronger evaluation mechanisms, greater public transparency and a "streamlining" of the public service. There can and should be a vigorous debate about the merits and demerits of this global package to the specific contexts of each country. This article participates in this debate by examining the challenges which a core actor in education, namely the staff of the district education office (DEO), faces in a context of decentralization. It focuses on four West African countries--Benin, Guinea, Mali and Senegal--which are undergoing a process of decentralization, although retaining several characteristics of the centralized management that typified their education systems for decades. Decentralization in these countries consists of four trends: (1) greater decision-making power by the DEOs (decentralization); (2) stronger involvement of local elected authorities, especially municipalities (devolution); (3) stronger autonomy in the management of financial and human resources by school directors; and (4) some limited forms of community empowerment. The core argument of this article is that the giving of autonomy should on the one hand be accompanied by professional development and on the other hand be counterbalanced by a clear accountability framework. This article therefore focuses on these three key and interrelated elements of a policy of decentralization: (1) autonomy; (2) professionalism; and (3) accountability. (Contains 6 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Africa; Benin; Guinea; Mali; Senegal